Earlier this month I attended Multimodal - a three-day event bringing together all sections of the freight transport, logistics and supply chain management industry.
As logistics gains market share from retail, we see an increase in need of labour, and a shortage of staff is a challenge for a large part of the industry. I spoke to a number of managers from large scale organisations about the biggest problems they face when it comes to managing their workforce.
So how do technology (particularly mobile technology) and people combine to drive efficiency forward? First and foremost, if you have more than 100 employees and still use manual process in your organisation you need to ask yourself why. Think unnecessary paper trails, spreadsheets and phone calls/emails for managing admin and routine tasks.
It doesn’t have to be like this. Thanks to cloud computing, mobile technology and big data, there’s a whole range of workforce management systems out there designed to significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to perform basic admin functions.
Now, not only can your rotas be created automatically, your employees can get their rotas, daily tasks and important company messages straight to their phones and see when they are working. What’s more, they can then be given the power to manage their work life through the same app.
However, the same managers I spoke to expressed fears of their employees not being ready for smartphone adoption in the workplace, let alone having a role in the decision making process.
These are some important beliefs that managers I’ve spoken with hold today:
- My employees are not to be trusted.
- They are here to work, not to be on their phones/devices all day.
- My employees can't even do A, how do you expect them to be able to do B?
- As a manager, I have too much to do to take on such a change management project (The belief that the reactive part of one's work is THE work when in reality the proactive part should be THE work.)
- We already tried to implement something, it did not work. (So nothing ever will...?)
Changing these beliefs, and not being afraid to innovate, is the most important step. The average person lifts their mobile phone 280 times a day, yet mobile use in the workplace still has a stigma attached to it when, in reality, it shouldn’t be viewed as being scary or counter productive, but as an asset.
Employees expect to be able to manage their lives through their phones, they are devices which they already rely on and increasingly will become more dependent on. From an employer’s perspective, embracing this will give greater flexibility, reliability and provide employees with a better work life balance - something which brings with it a whole host of benefits as explained in this article from Harvard Business Review.
And the benefits don’t stop there. By using integrated workforce management software to forecast times of peak demand and control labour costs, profitability will increase alongside efficiency and productivity.
You can find out more about the best ways to control labour costs with our free guide ‘How to cut labour costs without cutting staff.’